Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson gained 25 pounds when she took a break after the 2008 Olympic, after realizing that she couldn’t eat and do whatever she wanted.
“I was just going through so many different life changes,” Johnson, 20, tells PEOPLE just 11 days after announcing her retirement from competitive gymnastics because of a 2010 knee injury.
“I was traveling so much, I didn’t get the opportunity to work out. I thought I could do and eat whatever I wanted because I was fit.”
Learning from her past, Shawn is going to make sure that she stays fit this time.
“I’m sure it’s not going to happen again,” she says. “I’m going to try to work really hard and make sure of that. I feel like I’m mentally in a different place so I know how it all works.”
Shawn doesn’t seem saddened by her retirement, instead she has an optimist outlook on her new beginnings.
“I’m happy, on my way to getting healthy again,” she says. “Having that stress off me is definitely liberating.”
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